October 12, 2017/Press

A Look Back: How NC GOP Ignored the Public, Hid Their Maps, and Kept Their Racial Gerrymander

Raleigh – Today, a three-judge panel will hear final arguments in the fight for fair maps in North Carolina. Republican lawmakers were offered a golden opportunity to fix their mistakes and redraw the maps in accordance with the NC constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and the will of the people. Instead, they prioritized extreme partisanship and racial gerrymanders in the hopes of holding onto power for as long as possible.

New Maps, Same Racial Gerrymander

Despite making a show that they did not factor race into their maps, the NC GOP and their dark arts gerrymandering expert Tom Hofeller kept their racial gerrymander and diluted minority votes to hold onto their power. Thanks to Hofeller’s skillful carving, only 20% of Senate seats and 16% of House seats will be competitive in 2018.

Rep. Michaux hit the nail on the head when he asked Republican legislators, “The districts were declared unconstitutional because of race. If you don’t use race to correct it, how are you going to show the court that they’re not still unconstitutional?”

Republicans Misled The Public to Delay New Maps

Republicans argued repeatedly in court last July that they had not made any progress on drawing new maps, but audio revealed that GOP leaders had the maps long before then.

According to WRAL, Republican House Majority Leader John Bell saw his district “a long time” before anyone else and “enrolled his daughter in a swim club in a newly added part of his district well before the maps were made public.” Despite telling the public otherwise, Republicans clearly had already begun drafting new maps and showing legislative leaders their districts.

Public Demands Fair and Competitive Maps

In over 4,300 public comments and at 7 public hearings, the citizens of North Carolina unequivocally demanded that the Republican majority draw legislative maps with fair districts that result in competitive elections. GOP map drawers did the opposite, and shrugged off any public comments.

North Carolinians demanded to have their voices heard. They were ignored.

“Legislators should not be allowed to draw themselves into power, particularly at the expense of the minority voices in our community,” said NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds. “We hope the courts will step in and do what the GOP is too afraid to – return the power to the people.”

###